Imbolc

Posted February 2nd, 2012 by HelenScott

Well, Imbolc is almost here…hence the post.

Lets talk about an easy way to celebrate this holiday, by making an alter. Not everyone has a standard, everyday alter, but a make shift (or non working) is just fine. If you’re not burning any candles or incense, a bookshelf always works and so does a small wall shelf.  A mantle over a fireplace, and even a fireplace or hearth will work if you are burning anything (I use a small bedside table…).

So.. a bit about Imbolc:

  • Marks that spring is coming (not to get mixed up with the Spring Equinox)
  • Halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox
  • It’s a festival of Hearth and Home
  • Celebration of the lengthening days, and the early signs of spring
  • Possible predecessor to the North American Groundhog Day
  • Colors: Red (sun) and White (snow), and the color green (new growth).

 

Some decide to celebrate Brigid on this day (it is St. Brigid’s day)

Notes:

  • Classic triple goddess
  • Known for healing and the craft
  • Honored with a sacred flame at her sanctuary at Kildare Ireland
  • Connected to sacred wells and springs

Okay, before you start saying ‘St. Brigid? Isn’t that Christian?’, know that the Catholics converted this Goddess into Christianity because of the love of her followers in Ireland.

 

Moving on…

Lets talk about the alter, here are some ideas:

  • Cauldrons or Chalices: Brigid is connected to sacred wells and springs
  • Anvil or Hammer: Brigid is the goddess of smithcraft
  • Corn dolls are popular
  • Animals: cows, sheep or swans
  • A goddess Statue
  • Book of poetry, or a poem you’ve written (Brigid is the patroness of poets)
  • Faeries, in some traditions (Brigid is the sister of the Fae)
  • Healing Herbs, connected to healing rites
  • Lots of Candles or a cauldron with a small fire in it.
  • Brigid’s cross

 

Here’s a picture of my alter:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I’ve been living my life by a short phrase: “Keep it simple”, and it has definitely taken a lot of stress off. So my alter is very simple and to the point, but I’ll explain a few things.

Alter Cloth: I made this (I’m kind of addicted to sewing), it’s green (but looks blue in this picture) and it’s my fall back alter covering, I have a few more but this is one I use for more of a general, non working alter. Green is easily worked into any ritual, or alter setting and most Holidays have green as a staple color.

The Candles: I love love love these types of candles. You can find them at the dollar store…they always have red and white. They’re hard to knock over (I have two cats) and they last for a very long time.

Glass of Rocks: In Ireland Brigid has sacred wells and streams, this is to represent this aspect of her. I am also a water sign, so it allows me to connect on a different level with this holiday. (There’s little water so my cats don’t try to drink out of it)

Incense Burner: For burning incense (self explanatory)

Plant: Some sage I grew during the spring, sort of an offering. It’s sitting on top of a fire resistant burner, just incase I decide to burn it later.

Chalice: Again, representing an aspect of Brigid

The Bell: To ring for protection and cleansing

Animals: I have two elephants in the middle, umm… no other reason except I love elephants… and they represent good luck… so good luck for the spring I guess… and the white sleeping cat because cats are my power animal.

Triquerta: It’s the pagan trinity symbol, not just for the Triple Goddess but for protection. (You can never have enough protection)

 

So, I hope this has helped you decorate your alter. I hope you have a wonderful and safe Holiday. Happy Imbolc, and happy St. Brigid’s Day!!

 

 

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